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Mark Gevisser Reveals The Pink Line's Essential LGBTQ+ Bookshelf

Posted on 24th May 2021 by Mark Skinner

Mark Gevisser, author of The Pink Line: The World’s Queer Frontiers, lists the books that have guided, informed and thrilled him, and books that have helped him continue to explore the topics of the complex journey around the world towards queer civil rights.

Cleanness by Garth Greenwell

In limpid, unforgettable prose, Greenwell writes about sex, shame and intimacy - and explores Pink Line dynamics in his depiction of an American narrator and his Bulgarian lovers.

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Unsparing, beautiful, and devastatingly honest, Greenwell returns with another literary tour de force set amidst the political turbulence of post-Soviet Bulgaria, as an American teacher looks back on the many faces of love, sex and violence he encountered during his time there.
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Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique by Sa’ed Ashtan

A book by a young Palestinian scholar, it’s still on my shelf waiting to be read – but I know it will be smart and powerful, and will explore the phenomenon of “pinkwashing” that I describe in The Pink Line.

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Charting the present challenges and important milestones in the history of Palestinian LGBTQ activism, Atshan’s lucid and compelling book examines the resilience and creativity of the movement in addressing both the local and global criticisms and forces seeking to obstruct it.
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Love Falls on Us: A Story of American Ideas and African LGBT Lives by Robbie Corey-Boulet

Corey-Boulet examines a key notion of the Pink Line in four West African countries: what happens to ‘global’ ideas of ‘LGBT rights’ when they settle in hostile territory?

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This urgent, moving and profoundly eye-opening exploration of African LGBT communities discusses the problematic attempts to import and institute American-style gay rights in Africa.
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Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World by Shireen el-Feki 

Eight years old, this book pioneered an understanding of how sexuality works in contemporary Arab society, and shone a path for my work in Egypt.

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Investigating the multitude of political, religious, generational and economic elements entwined with sex and sexuality, El-Feki’s book is a fresh and frank portrait of intimate life in the Arab world.
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Trans* by Jack Halberstam 

A short, sharp, polemical introduction to the politics of trans identity by an eminent cultural theorist, trans* himself.

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Nuanced and vibrantly argued, Trans: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability contemplates the recent developments in the meaning of gendered embodiment and explores the rise of political activism around recognition of transgender identities.
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Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado 

Startling, often unnerving stories by a major new Latinx-American writer.

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Blurring the boundaries between magic realism, science fiction and horror, Machado’s startling short stories exude infinite imagination and razor-sharp prose.
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The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

Six years old, a classic already. This fusion of autobiography and theory is one of the bibles of the young trans and non-binary kids I write about.

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One of the most groundbreaking memoirs of the twenty-first century, Nelson’s blazingly intelligent and emotionally perceptive account of her partner Harry’s gender fluidity is luminous, hugely enlightening reading.
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Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon 

This magisterial work was one of the key inspirations for The Pink Line.

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The author of the seminal The Noonday Demon delivers a breathtaking, definitive analysis of familial difference and the kindness and compassion ordinary people consistently demonstrate when faced with change and the unknown.
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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy 

Roy’s latest novel has one of the most compelling portraits of a third-gender person I have ever read, and artfully explores what is happening to hijras as they come into contact with new global notions of transgender identity.

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An interwoven portrait of contemporary India - ambitious, exuberant and unforgettable - is dazzlingly conveyed through Roy’s stellar prose and deft, ingenious characterisation.
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